How to cope with seasonal changes as a singer 🤧
Much to my personal delight, the end of May and the beginning of June in South Africa means that Winter is officially here. Unfortunately, this also means that the majority of our studio is raging war with their sinuses and postnasal drips! Postnasal drips are really annoying with regards to singing because the “drip” often ends up on our vocal folds, resulting in agitated and swollen cords. It also affects the nasal resonance, which for CCM singing, isn’t ideal.
There are many over-the-counter sinus medications and remedies available, and I’m often asked which one is best to take. Obviously, I won’t recommend any type of medication, but I do implore you to please chat with your pharmacist or GP about choosing the right one for you. Antihistamines can often cause dryness - and this can negatively impact the voice. As a singer, it’s really worth chatting to a professional about this and spending some proper time figuring out the right medication for YOU! If you can figure out how to get it under control, your voice will just thrive!
In the meantime, there are some other non-medical things that I can recommend to help you out:
Neti Pots are essentially a nasal lavage where you rinse out your sinuses by squirting water up one nostril and letting it pour out the other. You can buy a Neti Pot at Dischem and Takealot.
This can really help you get control over that annoying postnasal drip! It also helps keep the nasal passages open by washing out thick or dried mucus. You generally use a saline solution too.
Here is a little homemade recipe:
Add 1 cup (240 mL) of distilled water to a clean container. If you use tap water, boil it first to sterilize it, and then let it cool until it is lukewarm.
Add 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) of salt to the water.
Add 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) of baking soda.
HOWEVER, here’s the caveat:
Neti Pots aren’t for everyone and shouldn’t be used all the time. We don’t want to over rinse sinuses and for some people, it can actually irritate them even more. The other thing that’s really important to keep in mind is that you have to keep these things really clean before and after use. You MUST sterilize them and store them as instructed - Ain’t nobody got time for dodgy mold!
These should have a permanent place in your bedroom and should be used every night whilst you sleep. It’s going to mist up your windows, it’s going to make everything a tiny bit damp, but man it’s worth it. Don’t add anything to the humidifier. Karvol and menthol aren’t a singer’s best friend, so keep it to just plain old water.
Lastly, the most obvious and simplest way you can help yourself out is by drinking bucket loads of water. Hydration thins out the snot (gross I know), and that makes a BIG difference. Pretty much everyone in our studio drinks caffeine, so we’ve got to replenish a bit more than the average Joe. Would it help if we avoided caffeine? Yes. But would it be good for our sanity? No. So, drink the latte and chase it with a glass of water!
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Our mission at VocalCoachSA is to create technical and artistic vocal superiority through sound and safe vocal coaching.
All sessions are in alignment with vocal techniques currently used on Broadway and the West End.